Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: What's better than a Dole Whip? 2 Dole Whips!

Mickey Cake Pops

The only place to find a Mickey Cake Pop is a Dulce Aventura (means Sweet Adventure in Spanish) in California Adventure.  It's located directly next to Cocina Cucamonga.  

Mickey Cake Pops come in three flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, and Red Velvet.  

Cake Pops are basically mini cakes or cupcakes on a stick.  And everyone knows that food always tastes better on a stick! :-)

The ears are made of marshmallows and rest is all cake.  For a cake pop, it's pretty big!

Was it worth the $3.95?  You betcha! 

Vanilla comes covered in Mickey sprinkles!

The chocolate Mickey Cake Pop is covered in white chocolate.  Yum!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Orleans Square Christmas Decorations

New Orleans Square offers festive Christmas decorations that really stand out from the rest of the park.  Since NOS already has a fun-colorful-jazz-Mardis Gras feel, there's a lot of beads and masks.  

The tree in front of Cafe Orleans has some great Santa/Moon ornaments and lanterns dangling from the branches.  Makes me want to grow a tree this big in my backyard just so I can hang cool Christmas ornaments.

Inside the stores, there's lots of Nightmare Before Christmas decorations.  I could really use this bone wreath for my house this year as I have a Nightmare theme going on.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Happiest Turkey on Earth!

Did you know that every year, the United States President pardons a turkey during an official White House ceremony?  And did you know that the pardoned turkey gets sent to live at Disneyland?

The National Thanksgiving Turkey stays at Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland.  Which is kind of funny since you see Disneyland selling giant turkey legs all around the park.

My daughter eye-ballin the National Thanksgiving Turkey

This year's turkey was the BIGGEST turkey I've ever seen!  My photo doesn't even give its size justice.  It was really, really big!  I hope this turkey gets to be pardoned the rest of its life and not get turned into a turkey leg!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving at Disneyland 2011

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family, friends, and all your loved ones!  My family just returned from a fun couple of days at Disneyland to celebrate Turkey Day.

Several restaurants at Disneyland and California Adventure offer Thanksgiving meals, however the grandest of them all is the Disney Family Thanksgiving Feast inside the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel.

First, I have to thank Heather Sievers for her Thanksgiving Feast 2010 review on the Disney Food Blog.  Her review is what caused us to book this year's trip for Thanksgiving.  When I showed my husband the food photos from her review, he was sold on going this year.  Thanks, Heather!

Now, on to the Feast and some tips for next year!

1. Book early!  Reservations start 60 days prior to Thanksgiving, so call the Disney Dining Line to reserve your party's table.  Don't wait because dinner is only served from 12:00pm - 6:00pm.  

2. Don't book the very last reservation i.e. 5:45pm or 6:00pm.  We booked ours at 5:45, got seated at 6:15 and was so involved in character photos, that they closed all the food stations before I had a chance to take photos for my review!  The plan was to eat, take photos with characters, and then walk around to shoot all the buffet shots.  Next time, we'll book a lunch time reservation so we can take our time.

3. Bring boredom busters if you have kids.  Once you check in, you're seated in a waiting area where there's one TV playing a movie (and not a lot of seats) and then a lot of waiting as they're calling out party names.  It would've helped my daughter if she had something to color or play with.

4. Come hungry!  There's a ton of good food and desserts, so plan prior meals/snacks accordingly.

5. Bring your camera.  There are great backdrops set up for character photos, who for the most part are dressed for the fall/country farm theme.  The lines are shorter than I've seen at the parks, but still allow time to walk around the Grand Ballroom to visit your favorite characters.

6. Beware, it's expensive.  Adults cost $71 and children were just over $20.  For a family of 4, it can cost almost $200 after tax and gratuity!  So save up if you need to.  We were able to justify the cost because we had a $150 Visa gift card that my husband received and we didn't have to pay for my daughter (kids under 3 are free), so out of pocket, we didn't spend that much.  However if we were to pay for this entirely ourselves, I'd justify the cost that there's live entertainment (band and characters) and excellent food.  And I have to say that the turkey was quite delicious...and I don't even like turkey!  So the next time we go, I know I'm going to get quality food and entertainment.

Inside the Grand Ballroom.  It's quite large!

Can you find the Hidden Mickey in the carpet?

The live band was playing Christmas music and some familiar Disney tunes.  Lots of kids and parents were dancing!

So I wasn't able to get shots of the Main Course buffet tables, but I did get the desserts!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mickey!

Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse!

Thanks for making a difference in my daughter's life.  She jumps for joy every time she sees you and loves sleeping with her Mickey doll at night.  And every time I see you, the child inside me comes out and all the stress of life goes away.

You represent all the wonderful things that is Disney and most of all, Walt Disney.  

Here's to many more years!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lesson Learned: The $12 Balloon

A balloon.

Such a simple form of enjoyment for any toddler.  Even I get a smiley face from looking at the balloons. I mean, just look at how happy she is!

For the very first time, I purchased a balloon for my daughter on Main Street (rather, my husband told me to buy her one).  My daughter was all smiles and couldn't wait to hold it.  As my husband was tying the string to her hand, the Cast Member told me it would be $12.  

$12?!?!  Are you serious?  I thought maybe $8, which is a stretch but somewhat reasonable.  Mind you it was for a light flashing Jack Skellington balloon.  But still.  $12?!

After I made my peace with the cost, it was nice to see how happy it made my daughter.  And it made spotting the stroller pretty easy after getting off each attraction in the evening.

The following day, we brought the balloon back to the park (so I wouldn't be suckered into buying another one).

This time, my daughter let go of the string.  And up it went into the trees.


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Lesson Learned: $12 balloons don't last.  I'm better off paying for a Character Breakfast at the Plaza Inn and getting the free Minnie Balloon.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Things I've Lost and Found at Disneyland

I've lost several things in my life.  Most have never been recovered.  Probably because they weren't lost in the land of Good Samaritans aka Disneyland.  

We all know that the Cast Members are outstanding.  They go out of their way to make your visit special.  But I've encountered some acts of good will from unknown Guests.  This post is a 'thank you' to the unknown Guests and Lost and Found Cast Members that really saved my family a big inconvenience.

In the last 16 months, my family has lost 3 important items that were thankfully returned by Disneyland Guests.

1) Lost Wallet & Annual Passes
At the end of one evening, which turned out to be a 1-day trip (a crazy story I'll save for another day), we got in our car jumped on I-5 heading back home.  15 minutes later, my husband realizes that he didn't have his wallet which not only included his ID and credit cards but our Annual Passes!  We turned around and went back to Disneyland.  At Lost and Found no one had turned it in so we filed a claim so that if it was found, Disneyland would mail it to us. Unable to do anything further, we returned to our drive back home.  My husband had cancelled all his credit cards and kept checking online for transactions in the even someone attempted to use his cards.  4 days later a package arrived from Disneyland with his wallet, credit cards, money, and Annual Passes!  A Cast Member had found it on the floor inside one of the stores and sent it off to Lost and Found.

2) Lost Driver's License
I'm someone who gets super paranoid if I know I forgot my license and have to drive somewhere.  On another visit, we returned to our hotel for the evening and I noticed my Driver's License was missing.  I was super panicky because we were leaving the next day and I was supposed to drive.  The thought of having to go to DMV to get a new license was making me sick.  The next morning, I walked over to Lost and Found to see if it was reported found.  The Cast Member went in the back and came out 5 minutes later with my license!  It was apparently found on the ground OUTSIDE of Disneyland (near the Harbor Blvd cross walk) and a Good Sam turned it in thinking it belonged to a Guest.  What luck!!  

3) Lost Car Keys
Of all the things to lose, this is probably the worst.  On another visit, I had given my keys to a family member to grab something from my car and didn't think to get them back right away.  As the day neared, we realized that she didn't have the keys.  Since we had driven down in my car, losing the keys was a HUGE deal.  How the heck was I supposed to get us back home if I had no keys?!  Based on previous lucky losing and finding things here, I didn't think luck would strike a third time.  But off we went to Lost & Found.  Nothing was reported by the end of the day so we called it a night.  Once morning came, we went back asking about our keys.  Thankfully, a Cast Member had found them inside a store and sent it in.  Phew!!!  

Thank you to the wonderful Guests and Cast Members who have turned in my lost items.  I've found other Guests' items and have submitted them to Lost & Found to pay it forward.  Hopefully their good will will be returned later in life.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Celebrating Holidays in the Parks

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Peach. Enjoy the ride as we share the ways we celebrate holidays in Disney and at home Disney-style.

One of my favorite holidays to celebrate at the park is Halloween!  Disneyland has really made Halloween a festive place in the last few years making it an extra special month.

Main Street U.S.A. has pumpkins galore, everywhere from the windows of Main Street to the giant Mickey pumpkin.  Over at the hub with the Partners statue, there's a pumpkin for each land.

The villains also make their appearance which makes for wicked fun character photos.

On select nights you can pay for a ticket to Mickey's Halloween Party.  The party is open to ticket holders only and you can go trick or treating around Disneyland.  We've been twice and have come home with POUNDS and POUNDS of candy!  And if you're not into candy, there's the exclusive fireworks show, parade, dance parties and extra special character meetings.

I'll be honest and say that I'm not a big Thanksgiving fan.  It was never an exciting holiday for me other than the fact that it was a four day weekend.  And I also am not a fan of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberries and pie.  

This year will be the first time that we celebrate Thanksgiving at Disneyland.  We'll be having a feast in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel that is an all-you-can-eat buffet with lots of characters.  My husband and I are super excited to go, mainly for the food!  I've read that there's lots of other food options than the traditional Turkey Day spread.  It'll be a new fun way to celebrate the day and maybe we'll make it an annual tradition.  I think for the first time in my life I will be stuffed with food.  :-)  I'll be sharing photos and a food review following the Thanksgiving weekend!

I've never spent Christmas Day at the parks but I have been there several times for Christmas Time in December.  It's a beautiful time to be there.  With all the decorations, you really get a genuine holiday, magical feeling of Christmas.

If I'm able to find a black Christmas tree this year, I'm going to have a Nightmare Before Christmas-themed tree.  The Haunted Mansion/Nightmare overlay provides lots of inspiration for a Halloween/Christmas tree that I think it'd be fun to do at home.  So keep a look out for some photos! :-)

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney in Our Blood.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ 400 Miles to Disneyland
Your next stop ~ Disney in Our Blood
3rd Stop ~ Joanna and her Amazing Technicolor Interwebs
4th Stop ~ Can Do It Mom AKA Mouse Fan Diane
Final Stop ~ Heidi’s Head

November 2011: Monthly Disneyland Photo Scavenger Hunt List

The November Scavenger Hunt list is here!

This month's hunt is different from the rest.  This time I've provided you with a snap shot of the item you're tasked to find in each land. 


Need to find the rules to the Photo Scavenger Hunt? Visit the tab at the top of this blog for a printable Rules page.
Print out your list and go hunting for the items on your next Disneyland/California Adventure visit. If you’re stuck on something, let me know and I’ll be happy to provide a clue.

Good luck and have fun!
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